Two international research confirmed that getting monthly shots is as effective as taking two pills a day to control the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV.
The monthly shots will offer an additional option for the estimated 36.9 million people around the world who are living with the disease.
Monthly Treatment For HIV-Positive Patients
The experimental new treatment can help those who struggle to take their medicine daily to prevent the spread of HIV. Pills can keep the levels of the virus in the blood low, significantly decreasing the risk of transmission.
The use of a condom is still the most widely-available and inexpensive way to avoid infecting sex partners.
However, monthly shots can offer a number of benefits. Having it administered to a clinic by nurses and doctors provides better privacy, especially to those who are worried about filling up a prescription for the disease at a pharmacy or those who live in shared spaces.
Hyman Scott of the San Francisco Department of Public Health has voiced his concern over the medication, specifically the cost. HIV pills can cost up to thousands of dollars monthly based on the combination of drugs prescribed, insurance coverage, and other factors.
Moreover, there is still the question of what will happen if the patient misses a shot. He pointed out that it might lead to drug-resistant strains of the virus.
Bringing The New HIV Treatment To The Market
The injection is a combination of two long-active drugs: rilpivirine, sold under the name Edurant by Johnson & Johnson, and an experimental drug known as cabotegravir, developed by Viiv Healthcare.
In one trial, the researchers revealed that the injection suppressed the virus that causes AIDS in about 93 percent of patients. In comparison, pills taken daily offer the same protection to 96 percent of patients.
"Constantly improving treatments for HIV have revolutionized the lives of people living with this condition," stated Kat Smithson, the director of Policy and Campaigns at the National AIDS Trust. "The potential for HIV to be successfully treated with an injection repeated every month, rather than pills taken every day, could be life-enhancing for many people. It will help with adherence to medication and allow people with HIV to get on with their lives."
The monthly shot still has a long way to go before it becomes available to the public. Viiv Healthcare is currently seeking approval from regulators in the United States and Europe.